Copper, Graphite Combo Can Increase Lithium Battery Efficiency
A combination of copper and graphite can increase the energy efficiency of lithium-ion batteries. Scientists at United States Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory discovered the unique combo.
The research comes after the team encapsulated dysprosium, a magnetic rare-earth metal, underneath a single layer of graphene. Encouraged by the success, they began testing the possibilities of the method with other elements, including copper.
They shot graphite into an ultra-high vacuum environment with ions, which created surface defects. They then deposited copper on the graphite while holding it at elevated temperature. The synthetic route created multilayer copper islands that were completely covered by graphene layers.
“Copper is a highly conductive material but susceptible to oxidation. Being able to successfully embed it just underneath the surface of graphite protects the copper, and suggests a number of potential applications, including battery technology,” said research assistant Ann Lii-Rosales.
The increasing popularity of electric vehicles and smartphones is driving the need for more efficient lithium-ion batteries. The mining industry is gearing up for the boom. Many lithium miners are in exploration stage and headed toward development stage to cash-in on the exploding demand.
Similarly, scientists are researching new combinations and processes to make lithium-ion batteries more powerful. Their goal is to increase energy and battery life and decrease charging time.
Recently, a group of physicists from the University of Missouri developed a material that can significantly increase battery life – more than 100-fold to be precise. The team is led by Deepak K. Singh, associate professor of physics at the University of Missouri.
The group developed a two-dimensional, nanostructured material by depositing a magnetic alloy on a silicon surface with a honeycomb structure. They have now applied for a patent for the magnetic material.
The team is still developing the end product. Once complete, the normal five-hour charge could increase to more than a 500-hour charge.